Analyzing Clinician-Patient Communication

The are a wide range of strategies for analyzing the talk, conversation, discourse or dialogue that occurs between health care providers and patients. 

Researchers that study the discourse of medicine, typically focus on the communication that occurs between patients and members of different health care organizations and systems. 

Typically, researchers examine medical talk in order to better understand the structure, patterns, organization and activities accomplished in health care settings.

For those interested, there are several resources worth examining.  These include:

Hall, JA., Roter, DL, Katz, NR. (1988). "Meta-analysis of correlates of provider behavior in medical encounters." Medical Care 26(7) 657-75.

Heritage, J. & Maynard, DW. (Eds.) (2006). Communication in Medical Care: Interactions between primary care physicians and patients. Studies in Interactional Sociolinguistics 20. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  Particulary Chapter 1.

Inui, TS., Carter, WB., Kukull, WA., & Haigh, VH. (1982). "Outcome based doctor-patient interaction analysis: 1. Comparison of techniques." Medical Care 20(6) 535-49.

Inui, TS. & Carter, WB. (1985). "Problems and Prospects for health services research on provider-patient communication." Medical Care, 23 (5), 521-538.

Mishler, EG. (1984). The Discourse of Medicine: Dialectics of Medical Interviews. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.  Particularly Chapter 2.

Roter, D. & McNeilis, KS. (2003). "The nature of the therapeutic relationsihp and the assessment of its discourse in routine medical visits." In T. Thompson, A. Dorsey, K. Miller and R. Parrott (Eds.) Handbook of Health Communication. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Ehrlbaum, pp. 121-140.

Roter, D. & Frankel, RM. (1992). "Quantitative and qualitative approaches to the evaluation of medical dialogue." Social Science and Medicine 34(10), 1097-1103.

Roter, DL., Hall, JA., Katz, NR. (1988). "Physician-patient communication: A descriptive summary of the literature." Patient Education and Counseling 12 (2), pp. 99-109.

Waitzkin, H. (1990). "On studying the discourse of medical encounters: A critique of quantitative and qualitative methods and a proposal for reasonable compromise." Medical Care 28(6), 473-488.

Waitzkin, H. (1984). "Doctor-patient communication: Clinicial implications of Social Scientific Research." JAMA, 252, 2441-

Wasserman, RC. & Inui, T. (1983). "Systematic analysis of physician-patient interactions: A critique of recent approaches with suggestions for future research." Medical Care 21(3), 379-293.

Click here to return to the Common Analytical Approach page